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The years-long spat between Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Métis leader David Chartrand continues to escalate, with both sides accusing the other of not picking up the phone to help track COVID-19 cases.
On Monday, the premier was asked about the Manitoba Metis Federation seeking a human rights investigation into why the province shared novel coronavirus testing data with every Indigenous group except the Métis.
The MMF alleges the province has discriminated by not meeting with the federation to look at sharing data, so both can better prevent outbreaks and cope with them. Manitoba signed such agreements with First Nations and Inuit leaders months ago.
Pallister shot back Chartrand is overly litigious and constantly "trying to weasel" public funds.
"I have tons of Métis friends whom I have way too much respect for to start throwing money at them," Pallister told the Free Press at a Monday news conference.
The premier claimed Chartrand does not return phone calls, emails and text messages, on COVID-19 or on issues such as a planned flood channel outlets project. The premier said all First Nations possibly impacted by that large-scale project have shared their concerns and criticisms about the plan, but not the MMF.
"David Chartrand's been invited a dozen times to come and get involved in that discussion and he isn't returning calls," Pallister said.
On Tuesday, the MMF said the premier was misleading Manitobans in a manner akin to U.S. President Donald Trump, and challenged him to release records showing the province’s attempted contact with the MMF.
On Monday, Pallister also chided Chartrand over a Manitoba Hydro agreement the premier cancelled in 2018, which would have given the MMF $67.5 million to not contest a transmission line to Minnesota.
"It’s just David Chartrand looking to sue somebody, and there’s not many people in Manitoba he hasn’t chosen to sue," said the premier.
Chartrand responded the PC government is the cause of its lawsuits. "We have no choice but to sue when the premier’s actions invite a lawsuit," he wrote.
— with files from Temur Durrani
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